In a case of murder and rape with a minor in which Trial Court had awarded death penalty to Mohd Rashid, a Division Bench (DB) of State High Court today sent the case back to Trial Court with the direction that the question of juvenility of the appellant as at the time of alleged commission of offence is required to be inquired into and decided afresh.
A DB of State High Court comprising Justice Hasnain Massodi and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal after hearing senior advocate PN Raina with advocates YE Tak and JA Hamal appearing for the appellant, and Senior AAG Seema Shekhar appearing for the State, sent the case back to Trial Court with the direction that the question of juvenility of the appellant as at the time of alleged commission of offence is required to be inquired into and decided afresh.
We therefore, direct the trial court, that is, the Court of 3rd Additional Sessions Judge Jammu to inquire into and determine the age of the appellant as on 28.08.2005, exactly or as nearly as may be, in accordance with the statutory provisions, and send the record of the inquiry, decision in the matter and the record of the case to this court, the DB ordered.
Learned Judge of the trial court is requested that inquiry should be concluded expeditiously and not later than a period of two months after record of the case is received in this court, the DB directed.
The DB also directed Registry to immediately send the record of the case along with a copy of this order to the Trial Court where both the parties shall cause their appearance.
According to the police case, on 28.8.2005, Police Station, Pacca Danga, Jammu, received a source information at 22.30 hours, that an unidentified dead body of a young girl, aged about 12/13 years, lying near Kachi Chawni crossing, outside Government Girls High School, Jammu, had been taken to Government Medical College, Hospital, Jammu by some passers-by.
After completion of investigation, police presented challan against the accused u/s 320/363/376 RPC.
Division Bench observed that Section 8 of the Act of 2013 read with Rules 74 and 75 of the Rules of 2014 lays down the procedure for dealing with the question of determination of the age of the accused for the purpose of finding out whether he is juvenile or not.
We would also reiterate that care must be taken to ensure that any document or documents obtained in the process of inquiry pertains to the accused and to ensure that the prosecution should be given opportunity of filing objections to the claim of juvenility, the DB observed and maintained that court should take all such evidence as may be necessary. JNF